We will talk salads in a minute, but first a picture from the Lady Antebellum concert I attended last night with Becca.
Since Becca is a working mommy, it’s rare that we have a night to ourselves to have enjoy some drinks and good food and take in some quality country music. We’re both huge country fans, so you can rest assured we were rockin’ out the entire night in our cowboy boots, just like back in the glory days of high school.
Lady A. was amazing, and the opening act, Kip Moore, well, he is part of the reason country music has started to appeal to the masses…masses of young women that is.
(Here he is belting out Landslide with Lady Antebellum and Kacey Musgraves. He is the one in the plaid cut-off…it takes a real country man to pull that off!
A nice ol’ country boy from Georgia with that slow Southern drawl, grit in his voice and a twinkle in his eye. The modern day cowboy crooning about “young love” and a pretty girl that he wants to take home ’cause his “momma’s gonna love” her. As the Dixie Chicks say “cowboy take me away!” Ah, yes, a girl can dream.
(For the record, he was kind enough to sign autographs after the show – the line was long. I snapped a pic from afar while we were walking out. I’m not invested enough to wait two hours for an autograph. I’ll stick with that whole clichéd “riding off into the sunset” cowboy fantasy instead.)
(Intensely staring into a pretty blonde’s eyes. Why do I feel like he has done this before?)
But, enough about cowboys. Let’s get down to the salads.
For someone who claims to love salads so much (every WIAW features a gigantic salad), it is shocking that I have never actually posted a salad recipe to this blog. Well, other than my kitchen sink salad from back in the NYC days. And those were the days when cooking to me meant throwing a bunch of processed stuff in a bowl and calling it dinner.
I’ve come a long way, my friends.
Anyway, recently, I’ve been on a warm salad kick. It’s still cold and gray here in the midwest, and I’m not ready to transition to summery fruit salads just yet. For those of you that find the idea of a warm salad puzzling, let me explain. Technically, a warm salad is a salad with any warm component, such as warm chicken, bacon, salad dressing etc.
For this particular salad, I sautéed the kale with a lemon shallot vinaigrette until the leaves were slightly wilted and then topped with some candied walnuts, cranberries and fresh parmesan cheese. Rule #1 of Sometimes Healthy Cooking: Everything is better with cheese (and chocolate).
- 1 bunch kale (approx. 8 cups), removed from ribs then torn or chopped into small pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped (can use dry as well)
- 1/2 package Fresh Gourmet Cranberries and Glazed Walnuts
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Begin by prepping the kale: Remove from the ribs and tear or chop into small pieces. Toss in large bowl with 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp salt. Massage oil into kale and let it sit while you chop garlic and shallots.
- Whisk 2 tbsp olive oil with, 1/2 shallot, lemon, garlic, salt, pepper and basil. Set aside.
- Spray large skillet with cooking spray and set to medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook until golden brown, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cranberries and walnuts and stir for about a minute.
- Add kale into skillet and saute until slightly wilted. Pour dressing on top and mix to coat. After about 2 minutes, remove kale from pan and place in bowl.
- Top with remainder of cranberry/walnut mixture and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
When I cooked for Emily, her daughter Sammie, was a huge fan of this salad. How lucky Emily is to have a child that likes salad even before she can fully pronounce the word. Anyway, since then, I cooked it up for a few more people, always feeling like something was missing…
I soon discovered it was all in the shallots. The key was to cook up the shallots in the pan before adding the kale. Then, the kale got to saute in all that flavored goodness.
And don’t be shy with that vinaigrette. Or the walnuts and cranberries. And especially the cheese.
If you want to go Suzie Homemaker on me, feel free to candy those walnuts on your own. I prefer to save a little time and energy with the pre-made store-bought version!
Oh, and please, make sure that every bite includes lots of cheese and walnuts. Trust me on this one.
In terms of types of kale that you use, since you’re warming it up, any kind will do. I used a mixture: curly (the most popular) and lacinato, which is a bit sweeter than the more popular and bitter curly kale. If you’re dealing with kale-haters (hello mom and dad), this salad works just as well with spinach.
I have yet to encounter someone that doesn’t like this salad. I’m 4 for 4! It’s the perfect accompaniment to some baked chicken, sweet potatoes and faux mashed potatoes (cauliflower ya’ll!)
And speaking of salads, I dug into the archives for this handy dandy checklist that I created for those of you seeking to create the ultimate salad.
This is what I use to create all of my amazing concoctions…only at this point, it’s all in my head. My head is literally a giant salad checklist.
Let’s quickly talk Tabata. It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a Tabata workout on the blog, and since I’m a huge fan of this interval circuit workout, I thought it was about time to revisit Tabata-land. As a reminder, Tabata is high-intensity interval training (HIIT) where you do an exercise for 20 intense seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The cycle is repeated continuously for 8 cycles equaling four minutes.
If you are NOT drenched in sweat by the end of this workout, email me. We need to talk ;-).
On that note, I’m off to work up some sweat myself!
Country Music Fan? Favorite Artist? I just can’t help myself with Luke Bryan. He’s entertaining, has a great voice and ok, he’s nice to look at!
Kale lover or hater? Favorite way to use it? I love my kale salads but nothing beats baked kale chips!